Guide Summary of Accounting Standards

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Standards Overview

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles—or U. Companies, not-for-profits, governments, and other organizations use accounting standards as the foundation upon which to provide users of financial statements with the information they need to make decisions about how well an organization or government is managing its resources.

Investors and lenders can use this information to decide where to supply resources or lend money. Donors, including foundations and grantors, can use this information to decide where to donate. Citizens can use this information to decide where public officials are spending tax dollars.

That information must be clear, concise, comparable, relevant and representationally faithful. For pollution remediation obligations that are not common or similar to situations at other sites with which the government has experience, this Statement includes a series of recognition benchmarks—steps in the remediation process—that governments should consider in determining when components of pollution remediation liabilities are reasonably estimable.

Topics of Interest

Thus, the measurable transactions and events that result in a pollution remediation liability may be relatively limited at initial recognition but would increase over time as more components become reasonably estimable. This Statement also requires remeasurement of the liability and its components when new information indicates increases or decreases in estimated outlays.

If the expected recoveries are realized or realizable, they should be reported as recovery assets for example, cash or receivables. For recognized pollution remediation liabilities and recoveries, this Statement requires governments to disclose the nature and source of pollution remediation obligations, the amount of the estimated liability if not apparent from the financial statements , the methods and assumptions used for the estimate, the potential for changes in estimates, and estimated recoveries that reduce the measurement of the liability.

Governments are required to disclose a general description of the nature of pollution remediation activities for liabilities or components thereof that are not reasonably estimable. The requirements of this Statement are effective for financial statements for periods beginning after December 15, , with measurement of pollution remediation liabilities required at the beginning of that period so that beginning net assets can be restated. However, governments that have sufficient objective and verifiable information to apply the expected cash flow technique to measurements in prior periods are required to apply the provisions retroactively for all such prior periods presented.


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This Statement will enhance comparability of financial statements among governments by requiring all governments to account for pollution remediation obligations in the same manner, including required reporting of pollution remediation obligations that previously may not have been reported. This causes a number of expected liabilities not to be reported. Additionally, current standards require the liability to be reported as a single-point estimate, which may not consider all potential outcomes.

This causes reporting of liabilities at amounts that may differ significantly from the expected amounts the amounts that, on average, will be incurred. This Statement will improve financial reporting by requiring consideration of recognition once an obligating event occurs and by requiring reporting of liabilities using the expected cash flow measurement technique. Unless otherwise specified, pronouncements of the GASB apply to financial reports of all state and local governmental entities, including general purpose governments; public benefit corporations and authorities; public employee retirement systems; and public utilities, hospitals and other healthcare providers, and colleges and universities.

Accounting Standards

Paragraph 2 discusses the applicability of this Statement. We have updated our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use this website, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and any updated website Terms.